RRB Release – COVID-19 Impacting Railroad Retirement and Sickness Benefits

Based on the recent environment surrounding the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, issues are arising where railroad employees are being encouraged or requested to “voluntarily quarantine,” and/or “self-furlough.” Members need to understand the implications of doing so and the impact on their Railroad Retirement benefits and medical coverage.

The U. S. Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) has developed a set of Questions and Answers that address several situations pertaining to employees who self-quarantine, take voluntarily furlough, employer mandated quarantines, and other situations.

Employees who self-furlough or volunteer furlough will not be entitled to unemployment benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board as they are not available and ready for work. Therefore, employees should not be encouraged to self-furlough or volunteer to be furloughed; otherwise, they will lose their unemployment benefits and also could jeopardize their medical benefits. Any voluntary (self) furlough scenario will require approval by the National union.

Until further notice, all RRB local offices are closed to the public but Board staff continues to work and answer calls. Additionally, the RRB anticipates no delays in payments for those currently on disability or retirement benefits.

It is imperative that you review these provisions and advise your members that they could lose benefits depending on the situation under which they stop working.

Should you have any questions, please contact the TCU Social Services Department at 301-840-8746.

Click here for the questions and answers from the RRB.

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